CHICAGO -- Rick Hahn's rebuilding work with the White Sox deserves the highest grades to date.
But after acquiring outfielder Eloy Jimenez, the No. 8 prospect overall per MLBPipeline.com, and right-handed pitcher Dylan Cease (No. 63) as part of a five-player deal sending Jose Quintana to the Cubs, there's still more miles to travel for the White Sox general manager.
"We've got work to do over the next couple of weeks," said Hahn during a Thursday conference call following the announcement of the 15th trade all-time between the Cubs and White Sox. "We're not going to force anything, just as we didn't with the Quintana deal. We're certainly ready to move forward on the next one, should the right opportunity arise."
Closer David Robertson, third baseman Todd Frazier, right-handed reliever Anthony Swarzak and left fielder Melky Cabrera lead the list of prime trade candidates remaining on the White Sox moving toward the non-waiver Trade Deadline, with Frazier, Swarzak and Cabrera set to become free agents after this season. Robertson is owed $13 million in '18 and the remainder of $12 million for '17.
That group of players won't command as much in return as Quintana, but still should enhance the critical mass of young talent assembled by Hahn. Any of the four also could become August trade candidates if not moved before July 31. In that August scenario, players must be placed on waivers and can be traded if they clear. If a player is claimed, a trade can be arranged with the claiming team within two business days, the original team can pull back the player, or it can allow the claiming team to take him.
Players such as first baseman Jose Abreu, reliever Tommy Kahnle and even All-Star outfielder Avisail Garcia figure to bring a higher return, although all three could be part of the White Sox rebuild moving forward.
Basically everyone on the active roster except shortstop Tim Anderson and left-handed starter Carlos Rodon stand as trade candidates.
"I think we've made great strides in the last 12 months," Hahn said. "I think we've had two very fine Drafts. I think we've made a tremendous, potentially impactful international signing in Luis Robert, and with the [Quintana] trade, we've acquired some very highly regarded, potentially impact players.
"In terms of how close we are to the end of this process, I don't have an answer for that yet. We still have more work to do over the next, however many, 15, 16 days there are before this Trade Deadline. There will be more work that needs to be done this offseason, and as part of that process of preparing for the offseason, we'll assess where we are from a talent standpoint and continue on the proper path toward accumulating as much talent as we can and getting ourselves in that position.
"All I can tell you is we're in a much better position today than we were a year ago," Hahn said. "We're certainly closer to that goal today than we were yesterday."